iOS and Android Retain Loyal Users at Similar Rates

The smartphone market is largely dominated by Android and iOS, dividing smartphone users into two camps: those who stick with the Android operating system and those who use Apple's iPhones.

Major players in the smartphone market like Apple, Google, and Samsung all aim to lure "switchers" with dedicated websites and tools for switching platforms, but new data from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners [PDF] suggests getting loyal smartphone users to change operating systems is a tough task.

Over the course of the last two years, from 3Q 2013 to 2Q 2015, CIRP has learned that Android and Apple have both retained users at approximately the same rate, with Google having a slight edge. When choosing a new phone, 82 percent of Android users stuck with Android, and 78 percent of iOS users chose to continue using an iPhone.

customerretentionrateiosandroid
The data also suggests that Apple users switched over to Android at a slightly higher rate. 20 percent of new Android users previously had an iPhone, while 16 percent of new iOS users previously had an Android device. Customers purchasing their first smartphone were more likely to choose Android devices, with 62 percent of first time buyers picking Android and 24 percent of picking iOS.

"The dynamic between Apple iOS and Google Android is not well-understood," said Josh Lowitz, Partner and Co-Founder of CIRP. "Even the basic loyalty rate, the measure of how each operating system retains its own users, is not widely known. Conventional wisdom says the Apple 'ecosystem' promotes loyalty, while Android readily gives up users to iOS. Our analysis has a more nuanced view on operating system selection, and indicates Android user loyalty has caught up and even exceeds that of iOS."

Among customers who switched to a new mobile carrier at the same time as switching smartphones, the numbers were in Android's favor. 79 percent of Android users stuck with Android, while only 51 percent of iPhone users who swapped carriers chose an iPhone.

switchedcarriersretentionrate
According to CIRP, switching from Android to iOS is more common when customers switch to AT&T or Verizon, while switching from iOS to Android is associated with a switch to T-Mobile or Sprint. CIRP attributes the high number of iPhone to Android switchers to T-Mobile and Sprint's "aggressive contracts and pricing."

Apple often talks about the number of users switching from Android to iOS during its earnings calls and events, but Android vendors, like Google and Samsung, rarely mention the number of customers who switch from iOS to Android, so it often seems like Android customers are switching at a higher rate. CIRP's data, however, suggests the retainment rates and switching rates between iOS and Android are close, with customers largely remaining loyal to their platform of choice.

During the company's last earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook said the company was seeing its highest switcher rate from Android that it had "ever measured."

CIRP's data was gathered from quarterly surveys of 4,000 U.S. subjects that activated a mobile phone from July 2013 to July 2015.

Top Rated Comments

Zirel Avatar
78 months ago
So, the study says:

* Android users are more loyal
* Most first-time users go Android
* There are more users switching from iOS, than to iOS

Yet... Apple sells more iPhone than ever. For years (or at least since July 2013), they have been beating their previous year sales both in units, but also in revenue$.

Makes all the sense this "study"!

How come people are fleeing iOS, if Apple sells more phones?

Is there any more (really unsuccessful) companies selling iOS devices besides Apple?

At this rate, Apple better use their money, buy 100% of AAPL stock, and let them play their media manipulation game between themselves.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
aerok Avatar
78 months ago
Makes a lot of sense since there are more Android phones to choose from over Apple. The average consumer won't have fanboy bias in choosing a new device.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
nagromme Avatar
78 months ago
My long-time Android friends--always fighting their phones, rebooting, unable to reach 5pm without a dead battery, unable to use my favorite apps at all, burning money on a new one every year when the software updates stop coming or the plastic shell cracks--all LOVE them. They assume iPhone has those same problems AND worse, and would never think of switching to evil Apple. They are using no Android-specific benefits (hacking the OS etc.) but they swallow Samsung's ads and blog troll-bait like it's gospel. So they spend way more than I do, and get far less, and think I'm crazy.

It reminds me of the days when Windows users would not consider a Mac specifically BECAUSE Windows was so awful: it made them afraid to switch because they believed the problems were the same on "all computers," and Windows was baffling enough. Why switch to a Mac, unfamiliar and therefore impossible to figure out, AND keep the same malware and crashes as Windows? (In their minds.)
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ssspinball Avatar
78 months ago
July 2013? Things were indeed a lot different back then.

Also, Comscore does not agree ('http://www.asymco.com/2015/08/10/the-new-switchers/') using the last 6 months of data.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
melendezest Avatar
78 months ago
Apple is too locked down for me on all fronts (design, compatibility, etc).

Windows is not there yet, but interesting things are happening.

Android is the more pragmatic and flexible platform of the three, at least currently.

Even with an all-Apple ecosystem at home (ipads, Appletvs, 3 Macs), I and the wife switched to Android 2 years ago and haven't looked back.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
RickInHouston Avatar
78 months ago
At first I bought Android because it was cheaper, but then I bought an iPhone.

Haven't looked back.

Android is too closed, you need to send all your data to Google.

Except when it's too open, when you're on your own to find an App that works, to do what iOS does for itself. Like sending texts and making calls through the computer.
What really happens when you send all your data to Google? Do they call you at home in the evening? Do they solicite you? Do they send you emails? Just what does Google do with your data that bothers you? Please let me know.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

General Apps Messages

All Three Major U.S. Carriers and Google Adopt Rich Communication Services, But No Sign of Apple Interest

Tuesday July 20, 2021 1:15 pm PDT by
For the last several years, Google has been pushing a new communications protocol called Rich Communication Services, or RCS. RCS is designed to replace SMS, the current text message standard, and it offers support for higher resolution photos and videos, audio messages, bigger file sizes, better encryption, improved group chat, and more. Verizon today announced that it is planning to adopt...
AirPods Pro Beta Firmware

AirPods Pro Beta Firmware Now Available

Wednesday July 21, 2021 6:50 am PDT by
Upcoming AirPods Pro firmware updates are now available to Apple Developer Program members as beta versions. AirPods Pro firmware beta one features FaceTime Spatial Audio and Ambient Noise Reduction. Custom Transparency mode, including Conversation Boost, was initially expected to be included in the beta but appears to have been delayed for a later version. Apple made the announcement...
maxresdefault

Apple Music to Livestream Premiere of Kanye West's New Album 'Donda' on Thursday

Wednesday July 21, 2021 1:49 am PDT by
Apple Music on Thursday will host a global livestream for the premiere of Kanye West's tenth studio album, titled "Donda." The sold-out event will take place at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, and Apple Music's livestream will start at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time. The livestream was revealed in a Beats Studio Buds ad that aired during the NBA Finals. The ad features U.S. track...
ios wifi settings

Apple Confirms iOS 14.7 Fixes WiFi Bug and Many Other Vulnerabilities

Wednesday July 21, 2021 11:38 am PDT by
Following the release of iPadOS 14.7 this morning, Apple has shared details on the security updates that are included in iOS 14.7, iPadOS 14.7, macOS Big Sur 11.5, watchOS 7.6, and tvOS 14.7, all of which came out this week. Notably, Apple's documentation confirms that the iOS 14.7 and iPadOS 14.7 updates address a WiFi-related vulnerability that could impact iOS devices when joining a...
16 inch macbook pro m2 render

Gurman: Redesigned MacBook Pros to Launch Between September and November

Sunday July 18, 2021 7:39 am PDT by
Apple can be expected to release its redesigned 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros sometime between September and November, as part of another packed fall season for new product launches, according to Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman. In the latest edition of his Power On newsletter, Gurman says that the new MacBook Pros will go into production in the third quarter and can be expected to be...
macOS Malware Feature

Common Windows Malware Can Now Infect Macs

Wednesday July 21, 2021 8:13 am PDT by
A common form of malware on Windows systems has been modified into a new strain called "XLoader" that can also target macOS (via Bleeping Computer). Derived from the Formbook info-stealer for Windows, XLoader is a form of cross-platform malware advertised as a botnet with no dependencies. It is used to steal login credentials, capture screenshots, log keystrokes, and execute malicious files. ...
magsafe battery pack solo

Hands-On With Apple's MagSafe Battery Pack

Tuesday July 20, 2021 11:14 am PDT by
The new MagSafe Battery Pack that Apple debuted this week is arriving to customers starting today and it's also now available for in-store pickup in many Apple retail locations around the world. We snagged one this morning and thought we'd take a look at it to let MacRumors readers know if it's worth the $99 asking price. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. As the name ...
macOS Big Sur Feature Orange

Apple Releases macOS Big Sur 11.5 With Podcast App Updates and Bug Fixes

Wednesday July 21, 2021 10:15 am PDT by
Apple today released macOS Big Sur 11.5, the fifth major update to the macOS Big Sur operating system that launched in November 2020. macOS Big Sur 11.5 comes two months after the release of macOS Big Sur 11.4. The new ‌‌‌‌‌macOS Big Sur‌‌‌‌ 11.5 update can be downloaded for free on all eligible Macs using the Software Update section of System Preferences. macOS Big Sur...
apple tv 4k design green

Apple Releases tvOS 14.7 for Apple TV HD and Apple TV 4K

Monday July 19, 2021 10:04 am PDT by
Apple today released tvOS 14.7, the seventh update to the tvOS 14 operating system that initially debuted in September 2020. tvOS 14.7 comes two months after the launch of the tvOS 14.6 update. tvOS 14.7, which is a free update, can be downloaded over the air through the Settings app on the Apple TV by going to System > Software Update. ‌‌Apple TV‌‌ owners who have automatic software ...
ipad pro m1 feature

Apple Releases iPadOS 14.7 With Apple Card Merging Option, Fix for 3.5mm Headphone Jack to USB-C Adapter Bug

Wednesday July 21, 2021 10:18 am PDT by
Apple today released iPadOS 14.7, marking the seventh major update to the iPadOS operating system that came out in September 2020. Apple already released iOS 14.7 on July 19, but for some reason, delayed the iPadOS 14.7 debut until today. The iPadOS 14.7 update can be downloaded for free and the software is available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the new ...